Hi! My name is Finn, and I live in Lancaster. I am on the FarmStart training this year, learning how to grow organic vegetables commercially. Here is a little bit about why I am doing it…
You might have heard about the Diggers. They are an historical example that has inspired me. The Diggers were a number of groups of poor people in England in 1649-50 who cultivated common land at a time of bad harvests and high prices and were opposed by landowners and the government.
The idea of what those people were doing was very exciting – defying the gentry, saying “we’re going to dig the ground anyway”. Their drive lives on. It’s almost anarchistic, a little bit of defiance. There’s the idea, again, of not being a slave to the shop, dependent on a supermarket’s limited offer. There are plenty of other things to eat if you know about them.
My passion for working on the land was sparked at the age of 14. Before that, I was a city dweller and I didn’t know it was something I would enjoy. I moved to rural Ireland at that age, and neighbours and family friends had farms. They put me to work and I enjoyed it.
I’ve had my own piece of land for three years. I bought it as a way of holding money that wasn’t a house or a bank. Houses involve more costs and bills to pay once you’ve bought them. Money in the bank is too easy to take out again!
The land is in Carlisle, but I live in Lancaster, so getting there regularly is difficult. I am exploring options about what I can grow. I do want to grow on the land, but I need to figure out what is possible.
After lockdown, and seeing the food shortages that happened, it makes sense to me to grow your own food. You’re also not, then, dependent on the decisions of big food companies.
I chose the FarmStart training to find out more about what I could grow and how, and how to be more food independent. Another reason was to make connections with like-minded people and people with vastly more knowledge. Knowledge is power!
It feels like in the short time we’ve been on the training, I’ve already made those connections and started to learn. I haven’t changed my plans about what to do, but they are evolving all the time.
Before, when I told people I had bought some land, they would ask, “How are you going to make money from it?” I hadn’t necessarily thought about it in that way. But the question made me wonder if it would be possible after all, and the FarmStart trainers and trainees make it seem as though it might be possible. They are excited to hear I have some land.
If you would like to find out more about the FarmStart programme and The Plot visit www.foodfutures.org.uk/the-plot